What can you expect?
For most people going anywhere for the first time can be a bit nerve-racking. Here is a quick summary of what you can expect If this is your first time at a service in the Cathedral.
- It's probably best to turn up around ten minutes before the service is about to start.
- You will be greeted at the door by one of our stewards, who will answer any questions you may have. They will give you a service booklet, so that you can follow and participate in each stage of the service and a hymn book.
- The stewards will direct you to where you should sit. Different services take place in different parts of the building.
- No seats are reserved; there is always room! We have plenty of space for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
- People sometimes ask what they should wear. There is no dress code; wear whatever feels comfortable. We accept people as they are.
- Our main Sunday morning service begins at 10.30am. We all stand as the clergy and choir enter in procession and then follow the directions in the service booklet.
- At the Sunday 10.30am service there are currently two groups for children. During the first hymn, those under 7 go to the South Transept, to the left of the choir stalls. Those from 7 upwards go to the main door and then across to the Becket Chapel. They return in time for Holy Communion. On the first occasion, parents should introduce their children to the group leaders, who all have DBS clearance.
- Through the service, we communicate with God in prayer, hear extracts from the Bible that are relevant and meaningful to our modern lives, listen to a talk that inspires us to think about the Bible readings and how we should lead a Christian life, and respond to God with times of quiet, prayer, singing hymns and in listening to the choir.
- At a point in the service, collection bags will be passed around. You are under no obligation to give; if you don't want to give this time just pass the bag onto the person next to you. Many church members do not donate in the service as they pay by direct debit. The money goes to help the work of the Cathedral and charitable causes.
- A highpoint of the service is the celebration of Holy Communion, the taking of bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's direct instructions to his followers at the Last Supper, reminding them to recollect his death and resurrection and of his presence with them now. If you are not sure you can take the bread and wine, you can ask a member of clergy to give you a blessing instead. Gluten-free wafers are available if you prefer; just ask the priest distributing the wafers when you come up to receive Communion.
- The Sunday morning service finishes at around 11.40am, and we then meet in the South Transept (you'll be shown where) for tea, coffee and biscuits (and sometimes cake!).
The aim is that whether you are just looking into Christianity or coming to church for the first time, or have been a Christian for many years, you should be encouraged and inspired by being with us.
If you want to speak to someone beforehand about what you can expect, please contact Reverend Canon Jonathan Baker or speak to any member of the congregation.